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August 05, 2009

My Son Beat Me

Not only is my son better at Mario Kart than me, he is much better. Which shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is. This is the first competition we have ever had where I have tried to beat him and failed. My son should not be able to beat me at anything at the age of eight. It would be one thing if it were close, but it’s not. He throttles me effortlessly and without mercy. Granted he has played a lot more Mario Kart than me, but I have played many, many video games in my life which I feel like should level the playing field somewhat. It does not.

In the game, each player chooses a character and a vehicle. Then you race against each other through a series of bizarre and beautiful race courses. There are twelve characters per race, with the computer playing the other ten. A routine finish is that he comes in first and I come in twelfth, which is to say, last. This happens over and over again, and it makes me feel as if I accidentally wandered into the Land of Decrepitude. Just beyond the corner is the Town of Senility and just beyond that, Death.

Of course, when he beats me I tell him what a great job he did, although what I want to do is what he does when I beat him at something – burst into tears and/or hit my sister. My sister lives in Florida, though, so that would probably be more trouble than it is worth. I find that I am a gracious winner and a horrible loser. My son is both a horrible loser, and a horrible winner, as evidenced by the “butt dance” he performs each time after defeating me. The butt dance is aptly named because it consists of him waggling his butt (either clothed or unclothed) in my face and singing, “I won/I won/ Uh-huh/uh-huh.” He is a terrible child.

In this respect he takes after his mother. Early in our relationship we used to play backgammon together. That stopped when we got to know each well enough that she felt free to throw the entire backgammon set against the wall after losing. She also refuses to play Scrabble, Boggle, Trivial Pursuit, and ping-pong. Once in a while she will play catch with me, but only because you don’t keep score in catch and because she enjoys when I tell her that she does not throw like a girl. Yesterday she mentioned that she had not exercised that day. I said that I had not either, but that I had the three previous days. She said, “Are you trying to one-up me?”

“Yes,” I said. Because I was. This is the kind of relationship we have.

So it’s no wonder that my son is also fiercely competitive. This week he is at golf camp. For three hours a day he is taking golf lessons with a bunch of other snotty Connecticut kids at a place called “Golf Quest.” I do not play golf. Neither does my wife. Perhaps that is what he drew him to the game, knowing that he will be able to beat me at that too within a very short time. 

            Mario-kart-mario

Doesn’t every boy want to metaphorically (or literally) kill his father? Isn’t that how he asserts his own manhood? The problem is, I do not feel ready to lay down my metaphoric life for my son. I am too young, too virile, too charming and hilarious. Perhaps you think I am over-reacting. After all, it’s just a video game, and not even a cool video game where you kill people. But that’s how it starts. With a video game. Then it’s golf. Then he’s stabbing me in my sleep. I’ve seen it time and time again.

My only recourse is to concentrate on the things in which I am still superior: tetherball, for example. Yesterday we were at the little beach near our house which has two tetherball courts. I destroyed him.

Chess: he sucks.

Running races: his short legs are a real disadvantage.

Math: good for his age, but still sucks.

Basketball: again, short legs are a significant disadvantage.

Memory Games: I am better.

Pole Vaulting: We have not tried, but I strongly suspect I would be better.

Any Contest Involving General Knowledge: he sucks.

Wrestling: My size and weight give me the edge.

And so on and so forth. These kinds of Oedipal struggles are commonplace, I know that, but that doesn’t mean they’re any fun for the guy who knows he is being supplanted in the world by his offspring. Better my downfall should come at the hands of some steely-eyed Aryan or, better yet, an alien.

Then again, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to taking some pride in seeing my child whup me; it shows me that, as good as my genetics are, I have managed to improve them with my child. (I do not take my wife’s DNA into account here because it is obvious where he gets his good genes.) When my kid puts down his Wii controller after having defeated me again at this stupid, stupid, pointless, utterly meaningless video game, a small part of me celebrates with him, and when he shoves his ass in my face that same part sings along to “I won/ I won/ Uh-huh/Uh-huh.”

But mostly I just want to punch him in the face.

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Masty

Michael, you are too much buddy, great stuff. Looking forward to the show tonight.

Liz

I think it's important to be better than your kids at everything and to demonstrate it, often. If they don't learn this important lesson in humility from you, they will learn it from some street hooligan somewhere and then you will only have yourself to blame.

I commend your parenting skills.

Kallie

Assuming that you're playing on Wii, which doesn't even count as Mario Kart, you have nothing to worry about. You would slaughter him on N64, which is all that matters. Wii Mario Kart sucks, a lot.

Mr. Thell

You take that back, Kallie. Take it *back*.

Reen

"This happens over and over again, and it makes me feel as if I accidentally wandered into the Land of Decrepitude. Just beyond the corner is the Town of Senility and just beyond that, Death" HA!

Be fair now, your big-ass vocabulary? Who *would* want to play Scrabble with you? See, you can't be too good at something or it's intimidating. Let someone win once in a while, then when they feel all comfy, pull the rug out from under them. SUCKAS!

I'd welcome an animated butt dance in my home. At least you know where you stand with boys. Simple things, males. Girls are more complex, devious, feline. I get: "And Iiiii'mmmm...out" as she places her cards on the table with a "click" - then a slow sly smile...maybe even a slight eyebrow arch. (No idea where she got that.)

Anyway, these tales of your family are hysterical. Cannot wait for your book!

Mitzi

ah, offspring. ain't they awesome? my own 8-year-old doesn't even bother asking me to play video games with him anymore, because any controller more complex than "stick + button" is beyond my comprehension.

thecitychicken

I have 6 and 10 year old sons. I love it when they go around with their little butts out. Because when that stops, it means they are all grown up. :(

Bluestem

Dude. Hello? Obviously you have to blame the batteries in the Wiimote. Even if you switch remotes every other game, it's still somehow a technical flaw. It has to be.

Joy

I cannot wait until your child stumbles upon this.

Jon

Cute! :-) Sounds like you're raising a class-A brat! ;-) Something his teachers will no doubt curse u for!
Still, for the ladies' sakes, shouldn't u teach him how to "lose" and score some points? I don't imagine a butt-dance would serve him particularly well in the art of courtship! X-D Ha ha!

Felicia

My soon-to-be 8 year old also loves him some Mario Kart. I never know what to do with those damn boxes I pick up, I just randomly hit buttons and hope I take off like a rocket. But I infinitely prefer losing in Mario Kart to having to play Bakugans -- that crap makes NO sense to me.

Bailey

Please document your pole vaulting contest when you have it!

amanda seitz

you're literally the funniest, most clever person alive. i'm pretty sure of it

ieatbuttons

Play it on a Super Nintendo and see who the real winner is (I bet it'll be you). Then you can shove your ass in his face and celebrate

Dan

No mind games? WTF?!? This is your chance to shine, my friend...

Either tell him that you were hustling him, but grew disinterested in following through with your devious plan because he doesn't pose as much of a threat as other pinball wizards do at his age or (better yet) get 10 ringers to gang up on his ass in online play. I'm in and so is the wife. Muah ha ha ha ha ;-)

Jason

This is a great site you have. I have a paranormal blog myself and I would like to exchange links with you. Please let me know if this is possible. You can contact me through either email or simply by a comment on my site. Talk to you later. Jason

Reen

Michael - you can also contact Jason, the commentator right above,(he has a paranormal blog) through me telepathically. I am "open", as they say.

I see my "tangle twitter for a day because you guys refused to open a Q & A blog for poor non-twitter users yesterday" spell worked like a charm! Only thing is, I miss reading your clever/funny tweets. (It's most everyone elses non-stop status changes/twitter feeds I can do without).

So then. Yesterdays Q & A was quite hilarious to read. My favorite disgusting thing you wrote had to do with labias. I will not re-tweet it here because I'm a lady. With a labia. Curious Georges simply need to go to the MMHI site and read it there (and have a giggle at the rest of it).

Hey. I know. Maybe you're enjoying the great outdoors today? (Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah)

Jaime

I have never liked that mytho-psycho-logical comparison .... because Oedipus didn't even _know_ he killed his dad. Poor Oedipus. That was more bad luck and crap prophesying than a need to best Daddy. In fact, Oed even LEFT Corinth because he loved his dear old Dad so much....who was not really his Dad....which caused him to kill his birth Dad....but on accident....but still....! See? If anything, Oedipus straight up loved his parents. Poor Oedipus... Just not the birth parents...whom he didn't know about...because they abandoned him in a friggin... -- see how wonky this is?! Poor Oedipus.

Nothing's worse than a wacky old prophecy man. So, I prophesy that if you put in the requisite 12 hours a day into Mario Kart (maybe divert some time from your secret family) you'll beat that kid good and proper, and he won't even kill you because the Oedipus metaphor is crap.

Still, keep an eye on Martha and tell the boy: hands off! Good luck!

Camille

Your failures are my success. I am successfully laughing today.

viagra online

Dont be upset, my two sons always beat me as well, not in this game you are talking about, but in some Wii games they both always annihilate me.

Kamagra Gel

Ha ha ha. This always happens. It remembers me when my brother and I taught my little brother to play video games and he defeat us very easy right now.

Air Jordan

As an example, what exactly is the positive reaction to a terrible economic setback? In this circumstances would it not be the positive reaction to copout and runaway? Escape as a result of alcohol, drug, or suicide? No! These adverse reactions only make greater problems by promising a momentary resolution to the pressing trouble.

Ruby at Science Summer Camp

Sounds like a really lovely time with your kiddo. Boys really are cute while playing.

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